The FCA's gateway to authorisation is now more robust than it has ever been, with higher standards, more intensive assessment and greater scrutiny being undertaken by the Regulator. More than ever, Paradigm's dedicated and bespoke service can be invaluable in helping you to navigate the authorisation process as we assist you in the correct completion, preparation and submission of your application for authorisation.
Our assistance doesn't just stop there though. With our support, you can also be fully prepared for the FCA's stronger oversight of newly authorised firms as, once authorised, you will then enter into the FCA's 'nursery'. This is where you will be closely supervised to ensure that your firm is complying fully with FCA rules and closely following your firm's business plan. For firms with plans to upscale at pace, the FCA will place you in their 'Regulatory Scalebox' and Paradigm is also perfectly placed to work with such firms to ensure you receive more intensive support, as required.
Please read on for more details of how we can help you become FCA authorised... and please do check out the testimonials further below from firms who we have helped guide through this process.
What we do
Providing FCA application support and FCA regulation assistance is one of our specialist areas and we are proud to have personally helped hundreds of firms gain FCA authorisation over the years. This service is suited to firms looking to become directly authorised with the FCA - either as a new venture or because they are leaving a Network.
We frequently get calls from advisers who are considering going directly authorised; it's a huge decision to make and that's why we offer firms comprehensive and bespoke support through this process. Our team of experts will work closely with you to understand your requirements and tailor this service to you (after all, no two firms are the same), this includes assistance and guidance with:
- Using the FCA online connect system
- Building your FCA application form
- Sense checking and fine tuning your responses
- Providing FCA authorisation help by answering all your FCA authorisation process queries
- Drafting the required documentation for your new firm, including disclosure documents, Business plan and T&C plan
- Drafting financial forecasts and profit and loss accounts
- Dealing with the regulator’s queries as the application progresses
- Novation of clients (if required)
- Full post-authorisation support in the form of ongoing compliance support and business consultancy services
If you choose to subscribe to Paradigm for ongoing compliance support, this will also provide you with access to Paradigm’s dedicated Professional Indemnity Insurance arrangement via our partner broker, Howden. This special arrangement is based around insurers considering more favourably the reduced level of regulatory risk posed by firms that utilise Paradigm for financial consultancy services.
Paradigm's Technical Helpdesk team works extremely closely with firms who are going through the FCA's application process. Our experience in this area means we will be able to talk you through all of the different questions and areas you might (understandably) be unsure of, and to help make sure you get your application right first time. We pride ourselves in a very bespoke and personal approach to this service as it really is unique to every firm. We'll be on hand to support you and help you make this exciting next step in your firm's journey! If you'd like to know more about this service, please complete this short form and one of the team will contact you to discuss this further.
The FCA can take over 6 months to process an application, although applications which do not include investment permissions can be quicker. Here are our top tips for successful FCA Applications:
Dedicate time to complete the application
Experience tells us that a focussed approach to the completion of the application results in completing the application far more quickly than if trying to "fit this in" to a usual working day. Make dedicated time available in your diary (1 to 2 days is sufficient).
Engage with your accountant
Paradigm provides templates for the financial information required as part of the application (opening balance sheet, forecast closing balance sheet, cash flow forecast and profit & loss forecast) but we recommend you engage with your accountant to ensure the financial information is completed and presented correctly.
Full, frank and transparent disclosures
The FCA take a dim view of non-disclosure so it is important any relevant matters are documented in full, with all facts disclosed.
Check, check and check again
An incomplete application will take longer to be reviewed by the FCA so make sure all forms and supporting documents are fully completed and that all required items are submitted to the Regulator. The application contains a checklist and we strongly recommend you review this thoroughly to ensure your application is complete before the application is submitted.
Respond quickly to any queries
The FCA may ask questions as part of their assessment of your application. It is important that any queries raised by the Regulator are answered promptly and fully in order to maintain the momentum of the application with the FCA. We will support you fully in this area, enabling you to respond swiftly and accurately to any points raised by your FCA Case Officer
The technical team at Paradigm, Stuart, Julie, Wendy and their colleagues provided an essential lifeline when applying and negotiating for nearly 12 months with the FCA. Without the team, their knowledge, speed dedication and professionalism I think I would still be trying to become authorised! I would recommend their services to anyone looking to navigate their way through the complex process, they were (and still are) a great professional service provider, and I am glad I have them as a support unit.
Matthew LeeOwner, Westside Independent Financial Services LLP
Over the course of what seemed a tortuously long period, the team assisted with every aspect of the application process and the never ending documentation requirements. Business continuity plans, Professional Indemnity applications, Compliance Monitoring Programmes, MiFID Long Forms, MiFID Annexes, Regulatory Business plans, Statements of Responsibilities… to name but a few of the bewildering and time-consuming FCA requirements. The Helpdesk assisted with the completion of everyone of them and held my hand every step of the way. The team were always accessible and even courteous when I asked them the same query for the umpteenth time! For anyone considering a new FCA application I cannot recommend the Paradigm Application Support Team highly enough.
Daniel LevyDirector, Daniel Associates 1989 Limited
I made the decision to go directly authorised and after looking at the FCA forms decided that I would need help. I contacted Paradigm and it was the best decision I could have made. Julie Rowe was assigned to me and Julie was so supportive, patient and extremely helpful. The whole process can feel very overwhelming. Paradigm provide you with guidance notes that is very clear and understandable to help complete the FCA application. There were times where I was not sure about a form or a section within a form and I could just get in touch with Julie and she would explain it all so perfectly. She's extremely helpful, kind and supportive and never made me feel like a burden by the constant questions.
I cannot praise Julie enough for all her help and positive attitude throughout the whole process. If it wasn’t for Julie and the assistance of other Paradigm members, I don’t know whether I would have kept sane the whole time and how much longer it would have taken. Absolutely AMAZING service and I really couldn’t fault any of them on anything. Thank you so much to Julie and Paradigm for changing my life.